Baby Boomers Make Up a Major Segment of the Nutritional Supplement Market

Baby boomers make up a powerful consumer segment. There are 75 million of them in the United States and they aren’t getting any younger. As boomers approach retirement age, they are hoping to continue to live active lives, focusing on preventive medicine and healthy aging. With this trend comes a strong interest in nutritional supplements, especially those that may reduce the risk of age-related diseases or the physical signs of aging.

Compared to their parents’ generation, baby boomers are living longer. This has led to high demand for products perceived to reduce the risks and inconveniences of age-related health conditions. According to a recent report by Zion Market Research, the dietary supplements market reached $132.8 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to $220.3 billion by 2022. Boomers want to maintain their health, and they are willing to spend money on products they believe will help them achieve their goals.

What Drives Baby Boomers to Seek Out Supplements?

As people age, their metabolism slows, but even as their caloric needs decrease, their bodies may need higher doses of many nutrients. To complicate things further, the body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients can decrease with age. For this reason, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are common in older adults. Certain medications, too, can block the efficient absorption of nutrients.

Certain key nutrients can be helpful with fending off disease and maintaining cognition, vascular function, and the immune system.

This paradox puts baby boomers between a rock and a hard place. Eating too much for their age and activity level can lead to serious health conditions such as obesity or heart disease. If they reduce their caloric intake, they may not get enough of key nutrients in their diets. According to Johannah Uriri-Glover, PhD, MSCR, MNSc, RN, a clinical associate professor at Arizona State University, sense of taste diminishes with age, leading people to eat less. This can increase the risk of malnutrition.

Certain key nutrients can be helpful with fending off disease and maintaining cognition, vascular function, and the immune system. Getting enough of these nutrients becomes more and more difficult with age. Besides a balanced diet, boomers may need to supplement key nutrients to help prevent age-related diseases.

What Nutrients Do Boomers Want?

Baby boomers top the list of nutritional supplement users in the US. Now in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, boomers are more concerned with healthy aging than their parents’ generation, and they are also more proactive about health and wellness. They may seek nutritional supplements and/or “functional” foods designed to support general wellness and prevent or alleviate common ailments, serious illnesses, and signs of aging such as:

  1. Obesity and type 2 diabetes
    Obesity is a major cause of disease and premature death, and it is becoming more prevalent in the US, especially among people over age 65. Obesity is also one of the major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. The diagnosis rate for people 65 to 74 rose 113 percent between 1990 and 2014. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious health conditions including vision loss, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
  2. Heart disease 
    Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, is the leading cause of death for both men and women over age 60. Coronary artery disease, which occurs when the arteries that deliver blood to the heart become narrow or blocked, is the most common type of heart disease and a major cause of heart attacks.
  3. Cancer 
    After heart disease, the second most common cause of death for people age 65 and older is cancer.
  4. Age-related eye disease 
    More than 20 million Americans over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. At the same time, macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in those over age 55.
  5. Osteoporosis 
    Osteoporosis, a condition where loss of bone mass makes the bones fragile and brittle, affects millions of Americans. Up to half of all women over age 50 will suffer from a broken bone due to the bone loss associated with osteoporosis. By age 65 to 70, the rate of bone loss is the same for both men and women.
  6. Immune function 
    Both flu and pneumonia rank in the top 10 causes of death for older adults.
Proper nutrition can help to reduce the risk of many common or serious conditions.

Deficiencies in key nutrients can contribute to many of these health problems. Proper nutrition can help to reduce the risk of many common or serious conditions. In an effort to be proactive about their health, studies have shown that boomers are turning increasingly to supplements. Their proactivity fuels the supplement market as they seek measures that can help them stave off the effects of aging.

The US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that older adults supplement certain nutrients that they may be lacking in their normal diet, including vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Proper nutrition may also lower your risk of developing age-related eye disease. According to the National Eye Institute, supplementing Lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect your eyes as you age. These nutrients are antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress, filtering out free radicals that have the potential to cause damage to the eyes.

According to the National Institutes of Health, deficiencies of calcium and other bone-supporting nutrients in the diet can lead to low bone mass, high fracture rates, and osteoporosis. Supplementation of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium has been shown to reduce these risks. These nutrients are essential for the growth, mineralization, and maintenance of healthy bone.

Custom Nutrient Premixes — An Optimal Combination

As baby boomers increasingly turn to supplements in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, choosing the right combination of ingredients for your products is essential to appeal to this powerful consumer segment. With our Custom Nutrient Premixes, we deliver precise combinations of nutrients — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other functional ingredients like fibers, gums, amino acids, proteins, and botanicals. Because these premixes are specially blended to suit your unique food product, you can customize your premix to include the nutrients that are most attractive to baby boomer consumers — or any other generational segment. Because our custom nutrient premixes are optimized for each customer, they provide maximum benefits in a single blend.

What Marketing Messages Resonate with Boomers?

When marketing your products to baby boomer consumers, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Quality of life and preventive health are key concerns for baby boomers. They believe that nutrition can have a positive influence on their health. They also know that foods and beverages can improve health, boost energy, and help to prevent disease and maintain a youthful appearance. As a result, boomers spend more on groceries than other generational groups, seeking out nutritional supplements and “functional” foods that contribute to their well-being or overall health.

Rather than doing extensive research, boomers tend to make buying decisions quickly.

Rather than doing extensive research, boomers tend to make buying decisions quickly. They rely on positive messages from trustworthy sources, including friends or product tests from consumer organizations. They see themselves as vital and active, responding best to positive messages that highlight their continued vitality, rather than playing off of their fears of fragility or declining health.

Boomers prefer to stand out as individuals rather than conform to a crowd. The total experience of eating is important to this segment and they enjoy trying new foods and learning new cooking techniques. Foods or supplements that contribute to heart health, joint health, immunity, cognitive health, and disease prevention are most appealing.

Mentally sharp, media/internet savvy and well educated, baby boomers make their own decisions, so marketing messages that target them directly are more effective than those directed at caregivers. They’re not of the era of 140-character messages, so traditional marketing methods, including slower-paced videos with text overlay or copy-heavy print campaigns that include testimonials, are effective ways to educate boomers about a product and spark a connection. Trust in a brand, whether it stems from a connection to other users, developing a relationship with the sales people, or identifying with the product, is crucial.

Baby boomers make up a massive and powerful consumer segment. Looking forward to an active post-career lifestyle, they aren’t simply retiring, they are redefining the meaning and process of aging. Hoping to age with more grace — and remain more active — than their parents, they seek nutritional products that will keep them healthy and feeling good.

To learn more about how our Custom Nutrient Premixes can enhance your products, contact us today.


Originally published at blog.watson-inc.com.

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